Le gouffre est apparu dans le désert d'Atacama au Chili. © sunsinger, Adobe Stock

An abyss appeared in Chile!

A large crater appeared 3 days ago in the Atacama Desert in Chile. With its 25 meters in diameter and 200 meters in depth, it has intrigued scientists. What happened?

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He appeared three days ago near a mine in COPPER : a giant chasm recently discovered in the Atacama Desert, Chile. L’large crater about 25 meters in diameter, 200 meters deep. Fortunately, no damage was seen to the infrastructure or the personnel. Everything is secured and the activity of the site is of course suspended, but the reason for this has not been determined. breakdown. Because if the process of its origin is known in a general way, the mining activity carried out in the area can be a direct cause.

All because of the ingress of water into the rock

Such holes can form when water (mostly rain) seeps into the rock. With erosion and the corrosion because of the water, carbonate rocks (like limestone or dolomites) then dissolve slowly, creating cavities or empty spaces: this is the process of alteration. If the water recedes quickly, the rock ceiling may collapse under its own weight: a gulf forms! The diameter of these holes varies from a few centimeters to tens of meters in diameter, with the same depth reaching hundreds of meters, as happened in Chile!

Usually, everything is done slowly: chemical dissolution takes time and, little by little, the rock sinks to the water level which is also slowly progressing. The change in weather can play a particular role, with cold or drought. But when human activity is involved, it gets more complicated. Melting can occur more quickly, due to the accumulation of rainwater, or if the water in the ground is easily removed by pumping, then it can cause the sudden appearance of ravines.

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